Natural fall decorations with physalis alkekengi Chinese lantern plants

Autumn is time for long walks in the parks, the rustling of fallen leaves on the ground and admiring the delicate grace of bare branches. Unfortunately, it ends quickly, but the aesthetics of autumn and nature can be brought into the house with natural fall decorations. Acorns, chestnuts, rose hips, pine cones and autumn leaves are must-haves for beautiful nature-inspired arrangements but there is another interesting plant that you can incorporate in your decorations – physalis alkekengi also known as Chinese lantern plant. They are perfect for providing autumn interest because of the red lanterns that enclose a small orange berry. Fresh Chinese lanterns can be used in flower arrangements, door wreaths, bouquets and garlands. Today we are going to show you how to make physalis skeletons and use them to decorate a lampshade.

Natural fall decorations and crafts

Natural fall decorations physalis-chinese-lantern-plate

So, we need:

–  Physalis alkekengi pods
– Baking or washing soda
– Water
– Casserole or saucepan
– an old toothbrush

Natural fall decorations physalis-chinese-lantern-skeletons-boiled-water

Wash the Physalis pods.

Fill a saucepan with water (about half of its volume). Add 6-7 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir.

Put the saucepan on the stove, add the physalis pods and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes. Then add 2 more tablespoons of baking soda and cook for another 10 minutes!

Natural fall decorations physalis-pods-half-open

Because the physalis pods float on the water like a cork, you should periodically stir while cooking and dip them into the water.

As soon as they are cooked, get them out of the water and cut along the veins into 5 parts. This is very simple, as nature itself divided it and made a “pentahedron” 🙂

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Natural fall decorations physalis-flowers-skeletons


Then spread the plant on a plate with cold water and while it is wet, clean carefully the skeletons from welded pulp with a toothbrush. After that you can press it between book pages or bring it back in their natural form.




Natural fall decorations – DIY lampshade


Now you can use your physalis skeletons for every natural fall decorations that you like. For example for  such a lamp with a base of branches.

natural fall decorations lamp-project-branches


– base and lamp shade for a table lamp
– dry branches
– plaster tape
– bronze or gold acrylic spray paint
– decorative acrylic pendants
– Physalis skeletons (Chinese lantern)
– thin wire
– transparent fast-drying glue



1. Attach the branches to the lamp base and choose their optimal location. Trim branches, if they are too long. Carefully inspect the branches: where the bark peels off easily, it is better to clean it off. Where it is tight, you can leave as it is.



2. Fix the branches to the lamp base by using plaster tape. Begin from the lower part of each branch and wind it several times around the lamp base.


3. Spray the base with branches with acrylic paint. The tape will merge with the tree bark and become almost invisible.


4. Make the physalis skeletons but this time place them in a book where they will dry up and take a flat shape.


5. Spray the dried flowers and ornamental pendants with gold paint.


6. Attach the dried flowers on the lampshade with a transparent fast-drying glue.


7. Using wire hang the ornamental pendants on the branches.